Review – Eden by Tim Lebbon

Posted: April 7, 2020 in Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Tags: , ,

Set in a near future, where the Earth has finally been overcome by pollution, climate change, population explosion and more, a world-wide treaty has been signed to create ‘virgin zones’; places free from humanity. Vast tracts of land that are given back to nature and that will, hopefully, serve as the lungs of the planet.

After decades, these zones are fiercely protected and, typically, have become surrounded by mysterious rumours – projections of humans and their curiosity. Maybe? For Jenn, her father Dylan, and her friends Aaron, Cove, Lucy Gee and Selina, the zones are places of adventure. Untouched by civilisation and devoid of humans the zones provide the perfect landscape to test themselves, their endurance and abilities as they illegally race across the land. They’ve done it before as a crew but the Eden Zone, one of the oldest and notorious, presents an adventure none of them can ignore.

However, Jenn has another reason for pursuing Eden, one she hasn’t told anyone else on the team. Her mother, Kat, who left when she was a teen, has sent her a message; she is in Eden. But, she is also ill and it seems this Zone will be her last race. It’s a secret quickly revealed when the team’s guide reveals she helped Kat into Eden months earlier, along with the fact that she never returned. It’s the spark that sets the crew on edge not least because Kat is a hugely experienced racer but because, as soon as they enter Eden, something feels wrong.

Tim Lebbon’s Eden slowly builds the tension as the adventurers realise there is more to the zone than just unpopulated nature. It’s soon clear that they are being followed and clearer still that they aren’t welcome in Eden. Beginning as a confident, exuberant team they are quickly whittled down, their nerves shredded and their worst fears realised. They are in the zone illegally, with no way to be rescued, little resources other than a stripped down race kit, facing things they don’t really understand. What begins as adventure soon becomes nothing more than survival; minute by minute, breath by breath.

Eden speaks to humans and their bullish ideas of dominance and disregard for anything other than their own desire. It speaks of the self-serving notion of trying to “give back” to nature as pollution and climate change ravage the planet. It shows just how fragile humanity is when nature unleashes its power. And this is where the horror lies; when that nature has become something else, evolved into something more, it’s truly terrifying.

Eden is a thrilling, page-turning, survival horror. The cast of characters are smart and likeable which makes their ordeal all the more tense. But, it is the relentless pace of the encroaching darkness, the isolation and helplessness of their situation, the terror of the pursuit that marks Eden out as a must read.

Review copy

Published by Titan Books

Comments
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